Bit of a downbeat news story in the Sunderland Echo about Helen Walker, boss of the Yoden Way Buckingham Bingo who was sentenced to 15 months for stealing £31,000 from the club safe. She was also guilty of fraud for £500 cashing vouchers that were intended for customers. It’s shocking to see a crime of this magnitude committed by a Bingo hall manager, and I only hope that the loss of money doesn’t effect the liquidity of the club.
One thing that struck me were the comments made by the defence that “the practice of leaving amounts borrowed from the safe of the company and notes left on an envelope was accepted amongst staff.” It struck a real chord for me as I spent most of my late teen years living on IOUs from the Party Bingo safe where I worked. It wasn’t just me, many at the club also used this little loan service to tide them over until the next pay day.
It was never more than a ten or twenty for me and my colleagues, but the money went straight back in come pay day. I wonder how common it is around the country? If it is common, the potential for a crime like this to happen again is pretty big. That said, I wouldn’t suggest it was something that would need to be stopped. Your average Bingo hall worker isn’t the best paid, and little helps like this can make a big difference to the staff members happiness (and as a result, members’ happiness).
If staff are able to take advantage of these little loans and leave the odd IOU then I hope this crime doesn’t see other clubs stamping down on the practice. I’m sure it was never an official thing, these staff IOUs, but I know it helped myself and many of my colleagues out and as such, it’s a worthwhile perk. If an official system was in place though, it may help stop this sort of spiralling IOU happening again.